Surviving breast cancer frequently entails commemorating significant anniversaries with a variety of events. On this occasion, some breast cancer survivors are reflective and quiet as they reflect on the challenges and successes of their diagnosis and treatment. Others hold parties and gather for meals to celebrate with their loved ones. Others go in search of adventure and travel, checking off their bucket list objectives with a keen sense of urgency. Breast cancer survivors are all too aware of how fleeting and full of surprises life is. Samina Ali, the breast cancer survivor tells the story of her journey.

She was Manager of Customer Services at a leading architectural firm and came back from the USA in 2005. On noticing a dimple in her left breast, she thought it was a part of the ageing process. Six months went by when her elder sister on a routine check-up with her gynaecologist also took me with her. On inspection, the doctor immediately referred me for mammography and biopsy. No fear and no apprehension could change the test results. She was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Being a health-conscious person, it took her some time to cope with the fact.

“It is a painful process, your body changes, there is no hair on your head, no eyebrows, and no eyelashes, and there is swelling. People who don’t know stare at you, and say hurtful things. All this is quite weird.” She survived that all with great strength of mind. There is no support system in Pakistan. You need a person who could tell what is going to be the next stage; there are so many little things one requires information on. She said that she still remembers a young unmarried girl who used to come from Multan and she was so poor that she had to borrow money for every visit. I remember a woman whose breast was oozing out and she kept on placing bread (chapatti) and relying on spiritual medication. Due to all the problems she faced and after seeing such examples she feels that after being recovered now I must enlighten others. This is also the aim of Pink Ribbon; to structure a group of Breast Cancer survivors who can guide new patients. This could prove valuable.